Energetic and compelling new stage show Madiba the Musical – a Celebration of the Life of Nelson Mandela opens in Melbourne in October.
Madiba the Musical, which celebrates the life of the former South African leader, who would have turned 100 in July this year, is interwoven with stories of the fight against apartheid and forbidden love in a troubled land.
Playing the role of Nelson Mandela is Perci Moeketsi, a South African star of stage, television and film, who dared to dream the impossible, encouraged by Mandela’s own words: “It is impossible until it’s done”.
Perci joins Tim Omaji; Tarisai Vushe; Blake Erickson; Madeline Perrone; Barry Conrad; Ruva Ngwenya; David Denis along with Courtney Bell and Riley Sutton to star in this energetic and compelling new stage show.
African dance and vocal traditions are given a contemporary setting alongside eternal love songs and stirring anthems in a show that tells of Mandela’s lifework as a lawyer and activist for peace through the story of young artist Will, who is the victim of apartheid in South Africa.
Madiba the Musical began its journey in France with its world premiere at Le Comedia Theatre in Paris in January 2016.
Neil Crocker said “Madiba the Musical is a production with both a fantastic and moving story, and some truly fabulous and joyous music and dance. This cast we have assembled of such authentic and talented actors, singers and dancers will deliver to audiences a memorable night of informative, challenging and uplifting theatre”.
Popular Australian Actor and singer, Tim Omaji, also known by stage name Timomatic, plays the role of Sam Onatou, a young black activist who is arrested in South Africa. In prison he meets the man known as “Madiba”, Nelson Mandela.
Tarisai Vushe plays Sam’s fiancée Sandy who works for the family of a white policeman, Peter Van Leden, played by Sydney actor Blake Erickson.
Madeline Perrone plays the policeman’s daughter Helena, who Sandy asks to help free Mandela. Barry Conrad, Sandy’s younger brother William, falls in love with Helena. As a fictional parallel story to Mandela’s work as a lawyer and activist for peace, the romance between young artist Will and white Afrikaans girl Helena tells of the struggle and tragedy of the apartheid regime.
Following her performance as Shirelles lead singer Shirley Owens in the successful national touring production of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Ruva Ngwenya plays the role of Winnie Mandela.
With music and Lyrics by Jean-Pierre Hadida and book by Jean-Pierre Hadida and Alicia Sebrien, English co-adaptors Dylan Hadida and Dennis Watkins, MADIBA The Musical Australian Production will be directed by Pierre-Yves Duchesne and associate director Dennis Watkins with musical direction by Michael Tyack and choreography by Johan Nus.
Sebrien and Hadida said that in creating Madiba The Musical, they wanted to tell the story of Mandela’s pursuit of peace and reconciliation in his homeland. They said the musical was also timed to mark 25 years since the abolition of apartheid in South Africa, and the year that Mandela would have turned 100 if he was still alive.
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